You may have noticed that the same vessel has been showing up a lot in the past few articles. This isn’t because I’m lazy. Well, no, that’s not true. It isn’t entirely because I’m lazy. It’s also because I spent months developing this particular vessel some years backThe Fall of 2012, and it would be a waste to not use it to demonstrate some of the principles I’m talking about, and improve the design, all at the same time!
I’ve been calling it the “Tramp Destroyer” because, hmm, where to start.
I saw a piece of barkfrom a pine tree, I think lying on the ground and thought to myself “that looks an awful lot like a spaceship.”I never properly captured the layers. I’ll have to try again some time
So I picked it up and took it home and did some sketches.
Well, not “sketches”. Just the one sketch. Look, I was eager to get started 3-d modeling! So that’s what I did.
I started with the projected views I had sketched out, and made a rough surface model.
And then modeled the armor plates over the top of the surface.
And then roughed out the internals.
You can see a few more of the work-in-progress renders here but what I’m going to be talking about here is the finished result.
Throughout the images, the color code is as follows:
Grey: Armor (light), drive (dark), and structural.
Orange: Coolant and heat management systems.
Teal: Data and sensors
Blue: Immune (robots)
Purple: Storage and cargo
Since we seem to have all day, I’m going to go through the systems, explaining what I had in mind when I was modeling the vessel, along with a manifest of the various systems. They are loosely based on vehicle systems, with a few inspirations taken from the human body (the immune system being the main one). I had always intended to go back and detail model all of the components, but as you can see, I haven’t really gotten around to it. Anyway, let’s begin with the most obvious of the systems.
I had intended this to be a multi-layer composite material, and the primary structural member. It is composed of highly reflective layers to deflect radiant energy, high density layers to absorb kinetic impact, high strength, rigidity, and toughness layers to distribute forces, sensor layers for damage feedback and strain analysis + distributed electromagnetic sensing, and active force layers. The last would draws power to hold the hull together during heavy maneuver or impact. It might also emit a weak “tractor beam” like effect to make the hull “sticky” for camouflage, (holding bits of local material to the hull), or for hauling large cargo. The hull also acts as thermal bulk, and is connected to the coolant system.
1 primary hull (5m thick)
1 secondary hull (3m thick)
The engines are, like with most “space ship” designs which attempt to make sense, where most of the magic ends up. These are “short range” bi-polar Anti-graviton emitters, basically a very powerful and precise tractor beam. They use reaction mass for extra thrust, or where ambient matter is scarse. Since they are connected to the reaction mass system, they can draw in environmental media to replenish reaction mass stores. They also function as “force ports” (see below).
21 Main drive ports
11 reaction mass storage tanks
Force Ports: Same as the drive ports, but not connected to the reaction-mass system Even so, they can use the interstellar medium for low-impulse drive situations.or large bodies, such as planets, for high-impulse kicks They also work to deflect projectiles into the armor, or away from the ship entirely. They can also be used to de-columate particle beam weapons. And of course they can manipulate material within the effector range, especially immune system units. A quirk of this “graviton drive” design is that the whole vessel can be effected uniformly for non-inertial acceleration. This allows kilo-gee manuvers without pulping the crew.
13 force ports
The power system is a set of darkmatter reactors, that use magnetic coupling lines for power transmission.okay, I hid some magic in the power source too.
2 primary octant reactors
5 secondary tetrant reactors
15 darkmatter fuel tanks
96 nodes (junctions) power distribution net
I wanted the weapon systems to be somewhat realistic,Unlike the power and drive apparently so I based it around a particle accelerator ring. It can fire antimatter streams, with the path pre-cleared of conventional matter and guided by the laser array (primary port only). It can also fire conventional matter in the form of dumb mass projectiles, reaction mass streams, self guiding missiles with various payloads.including immune-system robots
1 three stage accelerator ring, with
1 primary emission point
3 secondary emission points
There are also lasers, because you’ve got to have lasers! They are used for target painting, sensor illumination, direct thermal damage, blinding enemy sensors, and powering active projectiles.and remote bots
5 Lasers, around primary emission accelerator port
2 Lasers, rear facing
Sensors and Smarts
Primary and secondary sensor domes with radar and telescopes and stuff. As mentioned above, there are also sensors embedded in the armor. Finally, there are sensors to monitor all internal systems.
3 primary sensor domes
7 secondary sensor domes
The Data System has a primary bi-lobe core, and distributed secondary bi-lobe cores. They are tightly linked via hard-line to fire control, reactors, sensors, and force ports, all of which are connected to both the primary core and at least one secondary core. Each reactor has a data core controlling it exclusively. Most sensors, engines, and force ports have at least one other secondary controlling data core. All secondary cores have bypass lines, forming a network independent of the primary core.
1 primary core
6 secondary cores
The crew of ~500 consists of Officers, Engineers, Medical, Technicians, Pilots, Soldiers, and Mission Specialists. The Max capacity is ~1400.unless you convert the cargo bays
There are primary and secondary hanger bays front and rear respectively. In addition to the hangers, there are 4 docking tubes distributed throughout the vessel. 76 airlocks both partition the corridors, and allow for convenient egress.
The Fab Bay is on the starboard side, amidships, and can hold one entire drive unit for field overhauls. Engineering is a three story structure adjoining an auxiliary core, aux sensors, and the fab bay. An Arboretum in the prow of the vessel stores biomass, and affords recreation and a view of the forward firing arc. There is also an Observation Deck beneath dorsal sensor dome.
Quarters consist of 5 hab spheres, which house approx 200 crew each, also with viewing windows.
10 all purpose life support units
18 backup life support units
Control Centers are one each Main and Auxiliary, fore and aft respectively.
The Mess hall, has windows to Arboretum, and adjoins the food storage and preparation zones.
A dedicated recreation and fitness center is also connected to Arboretum. The Medical bay is centrally located in the crew area.
In the event of an emergency all five crew quarters double as lifeboats (capacity of 500 each). Some redundancy is provided by 11 dedicated escape pods (capacity of 50 each).
The “Immune system” is a network of interchangable robots for Security, Fire, Repair, Emergency response, rapid transit.yes, I ran out of capital letters The Primary immune center stores spare parts and automated assembly for immune unit maintenance. It can also perform in-depth tests for immune unit validation. 35 Immune Nodes store and exchange immune modules, allowing immune units to quickly switch operating modes without a full refit. 37 Immune Magazines, holding up to 10 immune units each, afford quick deployment of immune units to locations remote from the immune center and nodes. Immune nodes can accept new immune units. The rear unit between the munitions magazinesimmune center 24 is the normal entry point.
The autonomous robotic immune system is an aspect which I haven’t seen explored elsewherelet me know in the comments where you’ve heard of it if I missed it except as a distopian horror of machines gone awry. I feel like it would open up an interesting vista of unexplored science fiction.
32 Coolant tanks: Store and route coolant
15 Coolant Nodes: Route coolant and act as junctions
28 Coolant Patches: radiate excess heat (engines can also dump heat into reaction mass)
4 small cargo bays, 11 x 11 x 6.8
17 medium cargo bays, 17.8 x 11 x 6.8
1 large cargo bay, 35.6 x 28.8 x 11
The large cargo bay is adjacent to an armored cargo hatch.
I put an Equipment Corridor running from the primary hanger to the fab bay. There is also another Equipment Corridor linking the Fab Bay, Munitions, Reactors, and Primary Immune Center.
4 landing legs and the lower structural hull are used to support vessel during landing operations. The low-gain force layer in the armor also helps to support the vessel, when landed on deformable surfaces.
While I was working out the details of the vessel, I was thinking about how it got to be the way it was, and what might happen to it later. Here’s the outline of the Tramp Destroyer narrative I came up with.
OMT (Orbital Materials Technology) Locates scrap 3m thick reactive hull.an offcast from a much larger vessel fabrication
Initial vessel built for TVS (Trans Vesta Systems), vessel named “Shaving”
Second hull (5m thick) located by GW (Gravity Well), sold to OMT
OMT expands vessel under contract for TVS, vessel renamed “Tramp”
TVS withholds payment, OMT loans vessel to GW
GW extorts payment from TVS, destroying minor property
OMT reclaims vessel, recieves payment from GW, surrendurs vessel to TVS
TVS refits internals (Tramp Destroyer, as shown), threatens GW
Vessel stranded after being disabled by GW coverts
GW arrives with aid vessels, TVS refuses aid.
Empire arrives, investigation awards majority stake to GW.
GW purchases remaining interest from TVS.
GW breaks vessel, reuses majority including the 5m hull in an outpost “Stunning Refusal”
GW sells 3m hull to the vessel AI
AI builds vessel in non-military configuration. Vessel named “Splinter”
Finally, I’ll close out this description with a list of oddities about the design. Thanks for reading, and I hope to be back to making new stuff next week!
There is an orphaned thermal panel aft of Crew Quarters 3. It is hooked to power, but not to coolant.
Sec. Data Core 0 runs sec. reactor 3 with data lines threaded through the main cannon array.
Sec. Data core 1 Runs three sec. generators and two sec. sensor nodes. It feels overloaded.
Engines 1 and 2 have interfering thermal panels (30cm), and need special modifications.
The immune node in the center of the accelerator loses power when it is firing.
Dorsal Port sector should have a sec. data core, but it was never installed.
Power and data for Primary Dorsal Sensors run through the observation deck.
Three storage bays are only accessible via the immune system.
 The Fall of 2012
 from a pine tree, I think
 I never properly captured the layers. I’ll have to try again some time
 or large bodies, such as planets, for high-impulse kicks
 okay, I hid some magic in the power source too.
 Unlike the power and drive apparently
 including immune-system robots
 and remote bots
 unless you convert the cargo bays
 yes, I ran out of capital letters
 immune center 24
 let me know in the comments where you’ve heard of it if I missed it
 an offcast from a much larger vessel fabrication
What is Piracy?
It seems like a simple question, but it turns out everyone has a different idea of right and wrong in the digital world.
There's a wonderful way to balance difficulty in RPGs, and designers try to prevent it. For some reason.
Why Google sucks, and what made me switch to crowdfunding for this site.
Trusting the System
How do you know the rules of the game are what the game claims? More importantly, how do the DEVELOPERS know?
Do It Again, Stupid
One of the highest-rated games of all time has some of the least interesting gameplay.